Don't miss the biscuits at The Federal Grill. If you're thinking they look familiar, you're right. These buttery squares are the same ones that came in the bread basket at the old Branch Water Tavern, and they were one of my favorite things to eat there.
Luckily, when David Grossman sold the tavern to new owner Matt Brice, the biscuit recipe was included in the deal. So were the recipes for many of Grossman's other great dishes. The bone marrow service is still there, and so are the excellent fried oysters.
The Federal Grill
510 Shepherd Dr.
Matt Brice, who has worked in the restaurant management business with Brinker and other chains, had a subtle transition in mind. The concept for turning Branch Water Tavern into The Federal Grill was to keep Grossman's ambitious signature dishes while dropping the price point overall and adding more approachable classics to the menu.
Brice added an impressive Reuben sandwich made with house-cured pastrami to the lunch line-up. A Thursday fried-chicken special became an everyday buttermilk fried-chicken entree with a juicy chicken breast and leg quarter served on a puddle of creamy mashed potatoes with greens on the side.
To boost lunch sales, Brice added an $18 lunch special that includes one appetizer and one entree or sandwich from a list of selected items—the Reuben and the fried chicken are among the choices. It's a hell of a lunch for the money, considering the great service and elegant white-linen ambiance.
Federal Grill still features the extensive American whiskey collection that once made Branch Water Tavern so enticing. We were tempted to wash down our biscuits with a little bourbon, but we'll have to get around to sampling that tempting pairing on another visit.